3rd birthday bonanza planning

Kaylee will be 3 in August! That means another excuse to plan a party…and planning is in high gear. This time around we’re throwing a pony party. I decided on the vintage cowgirl theme after stumbling across Alexander Henry’s Pin Ups From The Hip line:

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I’m totally not into cowgirls, or pin-ups, but I fell in love at first sight.

I’ve spent the past month scouring Pinterest for everything I could find related to cowgirl, western, and pony parties and I am just about done sorting out all the details. I have several projects on my to-do list over the next two months, including making 6 stick ponies for the party girl and her friends.

I just finished up the invitations last week and I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. (I shot the pictures on my phone, sorry in advance.)

There are three pieces in the envelope. The invitation itself (created in Publisher, inspired by this and this), a personalized “Wanted” poster with the invitee’s picture, and a  ticket for pony rides (based on a template I found on Office.com for Word).

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Here is what it looks like assembled, wrapped in a bit of burlap and twine.

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A close-up of the ticket. I added a picture of Kaylee and Scott that was taken last fall. She rode that pony at least 5 times that day and we had to pry her away, crying, when it was time to leave. Kaylee’s love of ponies is the whole reason for the theme of this party. I wanted to give her the gift of some pony time without the huge lines. Booking the ponies for the party was the first thing on my to-do list, and while I’ll admit it’s a bit extravagant for a 3 year old’s birthday party, it was actually not out-of-this world expensive. My hope was adding a ticket to the invitation would let the other kids get excited about it as well.

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I had originally planned to make a wanted poster of Kaylee for the invitation but I ended up liking the vintage cowgirl design more. I still wanted to include the idea somewhere though, and as a last minute addition, decided to create personalized wanted posters for each of the kids. Luckily people overshare on Facebook, so getting the pictures of each kid was easy. I ran some filters on them in Photoshop to make them look more like drawings then pasted them into Word to add the text. I used Rosewood Std Regular and Giddyup Std fonts to add flare. They read:

WANTED
the notorious “name” ‘the kid’ known accomplice of Kaylee ‘spitfire’ Ryan
Reward
grub, games, & goodies

Aging the paper went pretty well. First, I printed the posters on regular 8.5×11 white copy paper, two per sheet, then cut them apart and roughed up the edges. I worked with them one at a time once they were cut apart.

First, I crumpled the printed paper into a ball and put it into a cup of water along with a tea bag. I experimented with soak time, and ended up liking the stain at the end of 30 minutes the best. After soaking, I squeezed the ball to get the excess tea water out, then carefully unraveled the ball. This was the most challenging part. The wet paper is really weak and tears VERY easily. This can add to the effect, or ruin the whole thing if you rip up a key part of the picture.

After unballing, I placed the wet paper between two dry sheets of paper and put a heavy book on top. This draws out the extra water and presses the poster flat. I had to change the paper twice during the process. It took about 2 hours for the posters to completely dry.

I plan to make 8×10 versions to hang up at the party.

(note: I was working with sheets printed on a laser printer. If you decide to try this and only have access to an inkjet printer you’ll need to stain your paper first, then iron it, then send it through the printer otherwise your ink may run off the page.)

I had a lot of fun putting these invitations together and I’m looking forward to sending them out soon.

[ Here’s a Word template for the wanted poster if you’d like to use it Wanted TEMPLATE. You’ll need Microsoft Word, Rosewood Std Regular font, and Giddyup Std font to make it work. ]

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